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Dunk slammed for tackle but Seagulls earn a deserved point

Crystal Palace 1 Brighton 1

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Lewis Dunk reacts is shown a red card by referee Stuart Attwell

Lewis Dunk reacts is shown a red card by referee Stuart Attwell

Pool via REUTERS

Lewis Dunk reacts is shown a red card by referee Stuart Attwell

Brighton had almost all of the ball and almost all of the chances but they so nearly left Selhurst Park with none of the points. It took a last-minute equaliser from Alexis MacAllister to pull them level against their bitter rivals, and seal a draw that was the very least that they deserved.

From the first minute to the last Brighton played the more progressive football. For much of the afternoon it felt like another day when the result would not match their performance, until MacAllister's fierce finish cancelled out Wilfried Zaha's early penalty in the final moments of normal time.

It would not be a derby between these two teams without some scuffles and the absence of supporters did nothing to reduce the bad blood. There were clashes throughout, with plenty of bickering and, right at the end, a straight red card for Lewis Dunk.

The Brighton centre-back's late challenge, a desperate attempt to score a winner, was a horribly mistimed lunge for which Graham Potter could offer no defence. "He knows it's not what we are about and it's not what he is about. He is a fully committed footballer who got it wrong. It's as simple as that."

Passions

Dunk was the player who lost control but he was far from the only one to be fired up by the passions of this rivalry. Zaha appeared particularly on edge, tussling with Brighton's Ben White as early as the first few minutes and generally looking for a squabble wherever he could find one.

After Palace's previous game he had said it was "nonsense" to suggest he was not interested in his club and his actions certainly backed up his words here. Zaha has scored more times against Brighton than any other opponent and he is now up to four goals this campaign, the same tally for the whole of last season. Uninterested? Clearly not. Frustrated that his defenders could not hold on to seal the win? Absolutely, as could be seen on his face at the end.

"It was a hardworking defensive display," said Hodgson, who was without forward Jordan Ayew due to a positive coronavirus test. "We were slightly guilty of defending the lead rather than looking forward and trying to increase the lead."

With Palace defending in their usual shape, Brighton struggled for so long to convert their dominance into goalscoring opportunities. Their hope will be that the arrival of Danny Welbeck, signed this weekend, will add more of an edge to their attack.

It was entirely in keeping with Brighton's campaign that Palace scored on their first meaningful attack. The penalty looked soft, with Tariq Lamptey penalised for putting his hand on the shoulder of Michy Batshuayi in the box.


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